Glazed and Embroidered Sugar Cookies

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I've made a lot of sugar cookies over the years, but these might be my favorite! I made these ahead of time for my Galentine's Day party, freezing the glazed cookies, and then decorated them with buttercream frosting before the party. I used this sugar cookie recipe which is my favorite because it is so light and airy. I rolled the dough out to a 1/4 of an inch cut them out using a 3-inch fluted cutter, but you could do any shape you want--squares, rectangles, hearts, stars, etc. After the cookies cooled completely I glazed them with a light pink glaze, dipping them in the icing by hand before letting them drip-dry on a cooling rack lined with parchment below for easy clean up. 

Pink Glaze 

  • 3 cups powdered sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder 
  • gel food coloring 

To make the glaze, combine wet ingredients in bowl. Slowly sift in powdered sugar and meringue powder, whisking by hand or using a hand mixer on low speed. Add food coloring last for desired shade. Use immediately. Let cookies dry 1 hour, until they appear slightly matte can be touched without disturbing the glaze. You can freeze them, separating each cookie with a small piece of parchment so they don't stick, or you can decorate them. If you freeze them, take allow them to come to room temperature for 2 hours before decorating. The glaze will look very wet when you first defrost them, but it will dry out and your cookies will look like you just frosted them!

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For the buttercream, the consistency should be very stiff. Combine powdered sugar and butter in a 3:1 ratio (I did 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter). Add 1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla flavoring. Divide white frosting into bowls and and dye with gel food coloring to desired shades--I did 3 pink shades and reserved some for white. Transfer to piping bags each with a different tip--I did 3 star tips, some open and some closed, and a round tip for the white. 

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The key with these cookies is to not have them look "too" perfect. Play around with the amount of each color, and the spacing of the dots. It looks best when the are all slightly different in my opinion! To make frosting them all easier, I went in rapid succession with each color, as seen below. To finish, I took silver nonpareils and placed one on top of each white dot for a little extra bling. 

Overall these were delicious and tasted like that Valentine's Day sugar cookie you remember from grade school as a kid! I can't wait to try different color variations for different holidays! I think red, white, and blue would be super cute for the 4th! 

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Snowflake Shortbread Cut-out Cookies

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I've been on the hunt for the perfect cut-out cookie recipe for years. One that isn't sickly sweet, doesn't spread too much in the oven, is sturdy enough to frost, and rolls out nicely. Finally, I found one that fits all of my criteria. My momma is a middle school teacher and for years one of her students (and her subsequent siblings) would give her a box of homemade sugar cookies for Christmas. They were amazing--like fight all your siblings for the last one amazing. After years of eating these cookies my mom finally asked her student's mom for the recipe. I was surprised by the recipe because it only has a couple of ingredients and uses no granulated sugar, only powdered sugar, no eggs, no baking powder or baking soda. It's really more of a shortbread than your traditional sugar cookie which is great because it falls apart in your mouth and isn't too sweet. I always hate it when you eat a cookie and between the cookie and the frosting you feel sick after. I've tweaked it a bit to my liking and here's the final recipe:

Cut-Out Shortbread Cookies--adapted from Bon Appetit

3 sticks of butter at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

3 and 1/4th cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 

3-4 teaspoons pure almond extract 

Cream butter at medium speed for 1 minute. Add extracts followed by sugar and salt and blend well, then slowly add flour and mix until the dough just comes together. Don't over mix or you'll have a "tough" cookie. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll cookies out until they are just slightly thinner than 1/4 inch. 

Bake at 325 degrees until the edges are barely browned. If you find your shortbread has bubbles in it take a flat spatula (the kind you'd flip a pancake with) and lightly press down on the hot cookie to flatten out any bubbles so you have a flat surface to frost. 

For the royal icing I used the same recipe as here but I made a lot more. My measurements were: 

1 bag powdered sugar

1/3 cup meringue powder

1 tablespoon corn syrup 

3 teaspoons almond extract (don't use vanilla or it will turn the icing an off-white color or use artificial vanilla which is clear.)

enough water until it's "flood" consistency  

To frost these guys it's easiest if you make two consistencies of icing: one flood icing and one outline icing. Make the flood icing first--add enough water until you can lift up a spoonful of icing and let it drip down to the bowl and it quickly loses it's "ribbon" shape. So it's not "soupy" but it is definitely runny. If you've ever wondered how Starbucks makes those perfectly frosted snowman cookies, flood icing is the key! 

Place a little more than 3/4 of your flood icing in a large piping bag. With the remaining icing slowly add powdered sugar until the icing is stiff--this is your outline icing. The icing should make stiff peaks when you lift it up from the bowl. 

To ice your cookies follow these steps:

From here you can do whatever you want decorating-wise. If you want to add sprinkles like I did apply them when the icing is still wet (it dries very quickly!). You can also let the icing dry then add more outline icing on top to make it more three-dimensional.  

My momma and I wrapped these up and gave them out as gifts to our neighbors. I tied up stacks of 6 cookies with baking twine (seriously, what doesn't this stuff look cute on?), put them in cellophane bags, and tied them up with a Rudolph tag I recreated based on a Pinterest photo. I bought craft paper tags and some red pompoms. I made a cardboard Rudolph head template out of some stiff paper that I traced onto the tags, and freehanded the eyes and antlers before affixing the nose with a dollop of hot glue. 

Here's what they look like all wrapped up! Merry Christmas Eve!!! Hope everyone's night is full of family and egg nog and cookies and fun. Xx